A year ago we finished this powder room, and today is its ‘mini reveal’. I have no idea why it took me so long to shoot it – probably the fact that there was zero sense of urgency to do so, and everything else was more of a priority… But the people need to see the powder room. And today is that day.
First – what did it look like before?
It was squeezed inside the laundry/utility room that could only be accessed through there. The house is 100 years old so it had some quirks, and I think it was meant more for the help than for the public. Previous owners put in a shower, probably because there was only one upstairs at the time.
To create a proper laundry room and give access to the powder we moved it forward, got rid of the shower, and stole from the closet that used to be in (what is now) the playroom.
The entry was totally closed off and dark, but now the whole first floor is so open and family friendly.
The footprint is definitely small, so we needed to add some charm, and as we all know a powder room is a great place to have a little fun, design-wise.
So I put up some paneling and planned on wallpapering above it.
Now as you might remember we were rushing to get into the house and we had some deadlines so to pass code we plugged in this Ikea cabinet and faucet. That space was small and couldn’t really handle a big vanity. We originally wanted a pedestal but due to a miscommunication it was plumbed for a cabinet, so the pedestal wouldn’t really work (even with Ginny and Mel ON IT it’s easy to make some mistakes if you are rushing, which we really were).
The vanity was fine, but not special and certainly the faucet wasn’t the style that we wanted.
So I asked you what we should do and gave you three options:
The overwhelming response was #2 – convert the music cabinet to a vanity. GREAT. That was what I wanted, even though it was going to cost far more than just working with the ikea cabinet. So we cut down the legs, hollowed it out and put it in there.
I’m sad to say that not only did it not work, but that somehow I have NO photos to prove it. Essentially it was too small to fit a sink and a faucet. And a vanity without a sink and faucet is pretty darn silly. If we hadn’t already wallpapered I could have done a wall mount faucet and a vessel, but I did and didn’t want to break open the wall. It just wasn’t big enough to put an undermount and a faucet, or a vessel and a faucet. Whoops.
I ended up spending a few hundred dollars in labor (ripping out first cabinet, repairing the wall behind it, cutting legs off and hollowing out that cabinet) and probably about 5 of Mel’s hours (if not more) trying to find the perfect sink/faucet combo that would fit.
So we went with option #3 – which I think cost $1100 to make, not including the faucet and sink. We ended up using the Ikea sink top – HA because it was the simplest, cheapest option. There might be more to this story that I’m not remembering…
All of that could have been avoided if I had thought about doing a wall mount faucet in the first place. I’m honestly such a better designer this year than last…
So without further ado, here is the new bathroom, including our custom vanity.
I think it’s pretty darn cute… Although I do have a lot of mini regrets – things I would do differently but nothing I care enough about to spend the time/effort/money to change.
First off, yes I wish that light fixture was lower or longer. I could of course change the fixture and find one that works in here (something more architectural would certainly not make it feel so high) but it doesn’t bother me enough. We can’t move it because of the wallpaper (well, we could but then I’d have to hire an electrician and a wallpaper installer to move something 3″ and that seems crazy).
I could also find a longer mirror or customize one that took up more vertical space, but again – I love that one I bought for $60 at the antique mall and this bathroom needed a little bit of vintage and wood to warm it up. That mirror is hilarious because it’s so old and warped that you can hardly put on lipstick, but I love it.
Now what I don’t remember is why I chose that faucet. But I feel like there was a reason! I don’t mind it, but why did we put the handles so close? It must be because of the plumbing underneath… I think we looked, and looked, and could’t find a black (not oil rubbed bronze) faucet in our style that we liked that wasn’t $800, so we went with this one. Again, I totally don’t mind it but yes, it could be better.
I like the chair rail and beadboard, but I do wish I had chosen something a little bit more modern. Just a simple squared off blocked moulding could cap it off nicely. But I also think this is totally timeless and looks original.
I LOVE that wallpaper so much. I’m not sure you can tell in these photos but one of the reasons I LOVE farrow and ball wallpaper is that it’s painted, not printed. So those little white dots on the trees look like someone painted them with a brush.
It’s just special paper. And while yes, I did reach out and got it gifted for this, I also shopped around to make sure that this was the paper that I wanted (we don’t just take things for free over here – stay tuned for the post coming up about that because I know a lot of you have questions). Above the toilet is a collage by Danielle Krysa (The Jealous Curator).
On to the toilet and floor. That toilet is the same we have in the rest of the house, by Kohler and it’s just lovely and classic. The penny tile was purchased at Floor and Decor and I suppose I do regret not using a darker grout. The first few months of dirt really kill you, but then it evens out and it just turns beige. But 2018 Emily is much smarter than 2016 Emily and I’m making a TON of better, smarter, more functional choices in both the Portland Fixer and the Mountain House. White grout on a ground level powder room floor, in a house with 2 kids, and a lot of indoor/outdoor flow? Not my best decision.
Other small regrets – why didn’t I have my wallpaper installer paper the AC vent and the outlet? That’s silly. Or why didn’t I have the outlet horizontal underneath the beadboard? Because I didn’t plan for it in time. Again, better decisions are being made nowadays, BUT I tell you my regrets so you can avoid them.
To recap what you should be mindful of while renovating, here are my tips (as it pertains to this powder room):
- You cannot choose the location of lighting until you know the fixture you are using. The shape and direction of the lights dictates how high it should go. But you often have to choose the lighting plan far before you’ve chosen the fixture or have it on site. So the lesson – tell your electrician to leave 6-10″ of wiring for flexibility. Moving a J-box with enough wiring isn’t a big deal, but if there isn’t then you have to open up walls or ceilings, etc.
- Before you paper – TRIPLE CHECK lighting and plumbing choices.
- If you can choose a wall mount faucet in a powder room – do it. Don’t redo your plumbing but if you are renovating completely anyway, plumb for wall so that you can have more space on your tiny vanity + wall mounts look more custom, which feels more special.
- Medium or dark grout on floors. Now, I don’t actually love dark grout on penny tile, but it could have been gray and probably be fine. OR a powder room is a good opportunity to carry the wood flooring through it. We didn’t need to do tile, but it’s cute.
- When planning paneling like this you have to consider the location of your outlets. We are dealing with this on the Portland house now. I envisioned higher paneling or tile in a couple of the bathrooms, but it either needs to be under or over the outlets and the outlets have already been wired. We are adjusting some things, but something to consider.
I think the only thing that I will take the time/effort/money to change is to switch out the outlet plate to something special – brass or black (Rejuvenation has awesome ones), and the next time my wallpaper installer is in my house doing something else (maybe a playroom mural?) I’ll have him paper that AC vent. OR maybe I’ll find a pretty brass one. If you come in my house and see all my heating and AC vents on the floor please don’t judge. I HAVE to switch them out as we have the super basic brown plastic ones right now, but it’s just not on my priority list (strangely some of them are custom sized which is adding to the drag time).
As far as where we are in the house – here you go.
More to come on that (and if you are wondering if I regret that black barn door, the answer is yes. WHY DIDN’T I POCKET THAT THING???)
When renovating – chant this sentence before framing begins – should this be a pocket door, should this be a pocket door, should this be a pocket door?
I feel like I enjoy writing about my mistakes/regrets more than I do actually telling you what I love about it. So in case you missed what I’m happy with in this little powder, here goes:
- I love that wallpaper. I love the neutral version of it even more. It’s gorgeous and makes me so happy.
- I love the sconce – it’s modern with a little classic detail and the brass warms it up, while the black works well with the mirror and the faucet.
- Love the mirror.
- Toilet is great.
- Custom vanity is awesome. Forgot to mention the grids – big fan over here, and we hung some cute Schumacher fabric leftover from another job behind it.
It’s cute you guys. I love the pop of color through our now fairly neutral first floor, and it just feels happy and appropriate to the architecture.
If you are into this powder room, here you go: